Tajikistan’s constitutional referendum considered valid

23/05/2016 10:01
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, May 23, 2016, Asia-Plus – Tajikistan’s constitutional referendum is considered valid as the voter turnout by 6:00 pm of May 22 has been more than 88.3 percent.

The head of the office of the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda, Abdumannon Dodozoda, told Russian news agency TASS yesterday evening that “two hours before the end of the voting, the voter turnout was 88.3 percent as 3.9 million Tajik citizens had already cast their votes.”  

Voting in the country’s constitutional referendum, which included 41 proposed amendments, took place on May 22.

Voters could either vote "yes" or "no" to the package of amendments.  It was not possible to vote on individual amendments.

The most important proposed amendments included eliminating the term limit for incumbent President Emomali Rahmon, lowering the age of eligibility to become president, and banning the creation of political parties based on religion.

The term-limit amendment applies only to Emomali Rahmon, who owns the status of the “Leader of the Nation.” 

Lowering the presidential age limit from 35 to 30 could position Rahmon's 29-year-old son, Rustam Emomali, for an early succession.

The last referendum in Tajikistan took place in 2003 and changed the one-term limit for the president to a two-term limit.

Tajikistan's previous referendum was in September 1999 and experts consider that it was probably the most important referendum Tajikistan ever held. That one approved the legalization of religious political parties.  It was necessary because the peace deal that ended Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war stipulated that members of the opposition, the bulk of whom were from the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, would receive places in government.  That referendum also approved lengthening the presidential term in office from five to seven years and later, on that basis, President Rahmon declared that the first two presidential terms did not count as part of the two-term limit.

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